Shipway for Repairing Ships to Come Up at Pandu: Sarbananda Sonowal at The Conclave 2022
Union minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal thanked the Chairman of the Pratidin Media Network, Jayanta Baruah for organizing ‘The Conclave 2022’ in the national capital and providing a platform for the people of the Northeast to showcase their wishes and aspirations.
Speaking on the topic ‘Can waterways, use of Brahmaputra, be the alternative route for trade and commerce for North East India?’ at ‘The Conclave 2022’, Sarbananda Sonowal said that waterways are the most effective forms of communication and trade.
He said, “Water is wealth, wisdom and energy. The logistics cost of waterways is the least among all forms of transport. When we had no rail or road connectivity, we had waterways naturally for trade, communication and transport.”
Lauding the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sonowal said that 18 ministries have been brought together by the PM Gati Shakti national master plan. He also said that the centre has plans to launch national waterways in 23 rivers across the country.
He also said, “In 2026, there were only five national waterways, but now there are 11. We have many plans to work on as directed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These include works on green shipping and green port."
At present there are 20 national waterways in Northeast and 14 in Assam.
Answering a query on whether there are plans for the development of these 14 waterways in Assam, Sonowal said, “We are not in the planning phase. We are in execution phase. Brahmaputra River is boon for the Northeast. A ship-repairing centre will be constructed by Cochin Shipyard Limited at Pandu in Guwahati. Ships from Northeast had to go to Kolkata for repairing which took six months. Now, a shipway will be built at Pandu which will reduce time considerably.”
"Construction of a floating jetty has also started at Maguribeel in Dibru-Saikhowa.”
Sonowal further said, “Every department is progressing and taking steps for development of people under the Prime Minister Modi’s rule.”
Further, he said that water resources have to be saved to battle against climate change. He also said that renewable fuel in ships will be launched soon.
The ports and shipping minister also said that India’s largest river bridge from Varanasi to Bogibeel which is around 4,000 kms long is coming up. International cruise terminal is also coming up at four spots.
Sonowal further highlighted the importance of coastal cruise and inland waterways.
He said, “We aim at Portland development or development around old ports, port land modernization, coastal community development, and increase in cargo handling capacity.”
“An experiment was conducted from Patna to Pandu, where a cargo ship was sent to check the depth of Brahmaputra River. After the experiment, it was found that it was too deep for travel against the popular belief that the waters are shallow. This proved that our presumptions were wrong and Brahmaputra can be used as a waterway to export several products from the northeast to other parts of India and the world.”
With this the first day of the Conclave 2022 held at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi concluded.